‘We’re very excited to be involved in this project’ said Sky 1 controller Stuart Murphy . ‘The first week has proved very popular, but we think that with a better known host and of course our own unique spin on developments we can make it a real ratings winner.’ He went on to add that they’re hoping to add ‘a bit more fun into what can sometimes be a bit of a heavy subject’, with plans to add comedy sketches and a live studio band to the current format of celebrity interviews.
Celebrities have been queuing up to take part in the show described by Max Clifford as ‘a golden ticket to kickstart a flagging career.’ Charlotte Church apparently turned down by I’m a Celebrity… to take part next week, and Anne Diamond is rumoured to be planning to give evidence wearing a skimpy bikini and with a kangaroo’s testicle in her mouth.
Speaking from the red carpet outside the hearing Clifford told reporters ‘I’ve been advising all of my clients to report the possibility that they might have been hacked to the police. It’s that or Celebrity Big Brother, which to be honest is no contest.’
Meanwhile, the show has continued to court controversy, with celebrity magazine Hello yesterday applying for an injunction to prevent its rival OK! publishing photos of the event. ‘We’ve paid millions for exclusive rights’ explained a spokesman for Hello. ‘It is after all the celebrity event of the year: Hugh Grant, Sienna Miller, Steve Coogan, Elle MacPherson’s publicist – it’s better attended than The Brits.’
As well as creating a clamour for exclusive photos the event has spawned a flood of updated autobiographies by celebrities keen to tell the public just how badly their privacy was invaded. Many of them are expected to be serialised in the tabloid press over the coming weeks.
Ross himself told reporters he was delighted to be hosting the show, although he did admit that he was generally more interested in leaving voicemail messages than listening to other people’s.